Get your fix of word fireworks and soul truth in spring 2022

SpokenWord every Monday at the Chat Noir. AWOL writers’ group every Sunday.

SpokenWord Paris is one pole of a nomadic tribe of people who love poetry, writing and song. A home for creatives and lost anglophones. We do an open mic night called SpokenWord every Monday at the Chat Noir and an allied writers’ workshop every Sunday. We do a literary journal called The Bastille and Tightrope Books published many of us in the book “Strangers in Paris.” Click on the blue stamp on the right to sign up to the mailing list – if it doesn’t work send an email asking to be put on the mailing list to db1066 @ Our Facebook page.

Open mic/scène ouverte: Performance poetry. Lire vivant. Poésie sonore. Stand up. Monologue. Stories. Beat poetry. Spoken word. English. Français. Your own original texts. Old texts from Rimbaud to Dr Seuss, Beowulf to Gil Scott-Heron. Chacun a son mot à dire. Make the words come alive. Acoustic songs also welcome.

Poetry video clips on our instagram at spokenword_paris

SpokenWord Sounds
A taste of Monday nights at the Chat Noir, by Victor. Listen or download here.

Every Monday except August. Come to the Chat Noir, 76 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud 75011. Métro Parmentier/Couronnes. Sign up at 8pm in the bar. Poetics start 8.45pm underground. More info here. Paris’ biggest and longest-running English open mic night, started in 2006. All languages welcome. 

Check next week’s theme here. Themes are a suggestion to inspire you but you don’t have to follow them. Indeed, many people don’t.

AWOL writers’ workshop

AWOL normally takes place every Sunday evening, 5pm – 7pm at the Chat Noir (76 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, 75011). AWOL’s facebook page. Free. Bring your writing or just come and listen and join in the discussion. Hosted by Bruce Sherfield, Simon Millward, Thibaut Narme and Camille Adnot. Friendly and insightful and afterwards you’re welcome to come for a drink. In a previous incarnation this ran for 10 years as The Other Writers Group and AWOL continues that group’s ethos of giving invaluable insightful feedback and providing a supportive space to hone your writing craft. Plus community among writers. Click here for a more detailed description.

Spoken World Online

This open mic is weekly on Tuesdays, an online version of what we do in the Chat Noir, and is hosted by David Leo Sirois. It’s on Zoom. More info at the Spoken World Online Facebook group.

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Bruce Edward Sherfield is Our Special Guest Playwright with Actors, Rufo Quintavalle and Tori Johnson May 23rd! Monday’s Theme: MISCHIEVOUS

Bruce Edward Sherfield is (in my own words) a brilliant writer, director, actor, voice-over artist, artist and good guy. Most recently known for Detroit: Become Human (2018), Coldhearts: A Poetical (Part One) (2020)  and Black Box (2021), he also co-runs AWOL WRITERS– The Invisible Paris Workshop where he guides, instructs and inspires.  In his own words ””Bruce Edward Sherfield. Unidentified Flying Artist. Faking Over the World. One Mind at a Time. Paris.” We are honored and very pleased to invite Bruce to present to us one of his theatre pieces–Countricide: Dancing in the Purple.(Dramatic reading by Rufo Quintavalle and Tori Johnson)

Rufo Quintavalle was born in London in 1978, studied at Oxford and the University of Iowa and now lives in Paris. He is the author of ten books of poetry, the most recent of which, Shelf, is a line-by-line rewrite of Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself”. His earlier collection, Weather Derivatives, is currently being translated into French and Portuguese. Rufo has taught creative writing at NYU Paris and for many years ran the reading series, “Poets Live”. Rufo is also an actor with experience working in theatre, film and television. He plays the role of Hadrian Bunch in Coldhearts: a poetical, an experimental project mixing poetry and film.Coldhearts is directed by Bruce Edward Sherfield and features many members of the Paris poetry scene. You can currently see Rufo at the cinema in the film Les passagers de la nuit, directed by Mikhaël Hers and starring Charlotte Gainsbourg and Emmanuelle Béart.–oy9hLbDA

Tori Johnson is an artist who has worked primarily in Sacramento, Minneapolis, and London. She has recently moved to Paris, France in 2021 to pursue acting, directing, and creating!She has always had a passion for creating spaces– spaces that are bold, exciting, unique, open, inclusive, and connected. She started her journey being a part of amazing spaces as an actor at Guthrie’s BFA Actor Training Program and the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre Education Program in London. Then she found a love for creating inventive spaces for the actor to do their best work in directing both theatre and film. Fortunate enough to experience the joys of creating energized spaces in the classroom as a founding member and Program Director of the Northern California School of the Arts, she continued to create spaces for actors, students, teachers, and other creators.

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Richard Krawiec is Our Special Guest at SpokenWord Paris, May 16th! Monday’s Theme: MISTAKES

Richard Krawiec is an award-winning writer in both the U.S. and France. His French novels, Paria, Vulnerables, Dandy, and most recently Les Paralysés, were published  by Tusitala Editions.They have received rave reviews from, among other places, Rolling Stone and L’Obs. In the States, Krawiec’s work has gained attention from the New York Times, Publishers Weekly Recommended List, Village Voice Real Life Rock Top Ten, L.A. Times and elsewhere. He has been nominated for Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net multiple times.

He has also published two novels, a story collection, three plays, and three books of poetry in the U.S., most recently Women Who Loved Me Despite. His investigative feature articles have won regional and national awards. His literary awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and twice from the North Carolina Arts Council.  Individual stories and poems appear in Drunken Boat, Shenandoah, Sou’wester, Levure littéraire, Dublin Review, Chautauqua Literary Journal, and elsewhere.

His writing is often described as focusing on the lives of the underclass, and is informed by his personal  experiences.  He grew up in the depressed, working class city of Brockton, Massachusetts, and his many jobs include assembly line worker, dishwasher, newspaper delivery person, truck driver, fast food and short order cook, cabbie, waiter and teacher. He has taught writing to children and adults in homeless shelters, women’s shelters, prisons (including Death Row), literacy classes, refugee resettlement collaboratives, programs that help survivors of sexual assault, drug recovery programs, housing projects and at other community sites. Krawiec designed the curriculum for, and taught for over two decades, the Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced Fiction Writing online courses for UNC-Chapel Hill, winning their Excellence in Teaching Award for his efforts. He teaches Fiction, Poetry, Playwriting, Memoir and Hybrid Writing classes through a variety of community arts venues.

He is the founder of Jacar Press, a Community Active Press that supports progressive groups and individuals. Jacar publishes a diverse assortment of poetry books and also runs an internationally-focused online magazine, One.

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Lisa Pasold is Our Special Guest at SpokenWord Paris, May 9th! Monday’s Theme: PERFUME

Photo by Sabine Dundure

Originally from Montreal, Lisa Pasold is the author of 5 books of fiction and poetry;  Toronto’s Lemonhound Magazine says of her most recent book, The Riparian: “A spectacular agglomeration of the dank and murky, the dark and forsaken, poetry and prose, taking the reader through tragedy, loss, and transformation grounded in locations along the sodden New Orleans riverbank.” Lisa’s work has appeared in magazines such as The Atlanta Review, The Los Angeles Review, New American Writing and

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Rethabile Masilo is Our Special Guest at SpokenWord Paris, May 2nd! Monday’s Theme: PESTS

Photo by Sabine Dundure

Rethabile Masilo is a Mosotho poet who has lived in France for more than 30 years. He left his country, Lesotho, as a refugee in 1981, eventually ending up in the USA. He moved to France in 1987 where he has resided ever since.

Masilo has published four books of poetry as well as two poetry anthologies that he was editor of. In 2014 his poem ‘Swimming’, from his second book Waslap won the Dalro First Prize in poetry, as well as the Thomas Pringle Award for Poetry in South African periodicals a year later. The poem had first appeared in the magazine New Coin, Vol. 49 Number 1, in June 2013.

In 2016 Waslap was awarded The Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry. That same year he was invited to the 20th Poetry Africa Festival in Durban, where he also represented The World Poetry Movement. In June 2019 he was part of The International Poetry Festival of Medellin in Colombia, to whose 30th anniversary festival in 2020 he was also invited.

His books are ‘Things that are silent’ (Pindrop Press, 2012), ‘Waslap’ (The Onslaught Press, 2015), ‘Letter to country’ (Canopic Publishing, 2016), and ‘Qoaling’ (The Onslaught Press, 2018). He blogs at PRL ( and co-edits Canopic Jar ( with the writer Phil Rice.

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Jack Cooper is Our Special Guest at SpokenWord Paris, April 25th! Monday’s Theme: CURSES

photo by Guiseppe Velasco

John Jack Jackie (Edward) Cooper Cadet de la famille, child “Jackie,” as he was then known, first went lost on the farm where they once lived. Panic ensued — and, not improbably, curses — search for him everywhere, soon resolved, when, not lost at all, he was found some miles down the road that led to their idyllic world, wagon in hand, perfectly alone, head turning eagerly from side to side. The farm is gone, that family entirely perished, but he remains essentially as he was, bound on similar adventure. He is the creator of These Are Aphorithms (, author of Ten (Poets Wear Prada, 2012), Ten … more (Poets Wear Prada, 2016), and translator of Wax Women, with French texts of the original poems by Jean-Pierre Lemesle (International Art Office: Paris, 1985). His work has appeared widely, in print and online. “Slouching Toward Bushwick,” a collection of his Brooklyn poems, is forthcoming soon from Poets Wear Prada. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, he is editor and co-publisher of Poets Wear Prada, a small press based in Hoboken, New Jersey. He lives in Paris.

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Sue Burge is Our Special Guest at SpokenWord Paris, April 18th! Monday’s Theme: SMOKE

Sue Burge is a freelance creative writing tutor, mentor and editor based in North Norfolk, UK.  Sue’s poems have been published in a wide range of journals and have also featured in themed anthologies on science fiction, modern Gothic, illness, Britishness, endangered birds, WWI and the ongoing pandemic.  In 2016 she received an Arts Council grant which enabled her to write a body of poetry in response to the cinematic and literary legacy of Paris, which resulted in her first collection, Lumière .   She has two collections out with Live Canon, In the Kingdom of Shadows and Confetti Dancers.  The latter features a sequence of poems in homage to the loss of a dancer friend to the AIDS pandemic in the 1980s.  The Saltwater Diaries  (Hedgehog Poetry Press) was published in 2020 and examines Sue’s ongoing relationship with the sea.  She is currently working on her next full collection which explores the world of the alter ego she left behind in Paris three decades ago.  Her collection of eco-poetry, watch it slowly fade, is forthcoming with Hedgehog Poetry Press. 

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Moonlit Brooks–Our Special Guests at SpokenWord Paris, April 11th! Monday’s Theme: Demons

Bio: Moonlit Brooks is a spoken word duo from Heidelberg, Germany. With Tanya Gautam as the poet and Dizzy Rodriguez on the keys, we combine poetry and piano to process and share our experiences as people and artists. Our work explores the beauty and brutality of the world to realize, time and again, that we’re all the same — breathing bodies living between pain and joy, madness and insecurity, kindness and curiosity. With lyrics that meditate on topics ranging from violence and racism to the soft animal habits of love and compassion, every performance is a unique conversation between the pianist, the poet and the audience

Instagram: @moonlitbrooks 



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Yann Rousselot is Our Special Guest at SpokenWord Paris, April 4th ! Monday’s Theme: April Fools

photo by Sabine Dundure

Yann Rousselot is a translator and writer living in Paris, originally from England, but also from Brittany, and more realistically from nowhere at all, being an expat-brat with serious issues of cultural schizophrenia. His childhood could be likened to falling down an escalator made up of 13 schools in 8 countries scattered across 3 different continents. Graduate of the Sorbonne (Language & Literature) and the University of London Institute in Paris (Translation), he is a regular spoken word performer at Au Chat Noir, Culture Rapide, and le Bordel de la Poésie; a fire-spinner; a gamer; and a book nerd with a palate for SF&F.

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Looking back at SpokenWord Paris in 2021

Photo by Sabine.

We were first back in the Chat Noir in July, then regularly every Monday from September. Before that we did some SpokenWords outside when the weather was good enough.

It was great to be back at the Black Cat and see old friends and hear some great poetry and stories.

Here’s hoping it’ll be possible through 2022!

Cheers all,

David Barnes (Organiser)

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1st SpokenWord of 2022

10th January

theme – Imaginary friends
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